Friday, June 11, 2021 Newsletter

9:00 a.m. Contemporary 
11:00 a.m. Traditional*

 (* also available on our website and via phone)
Worshipping together on June 20

In just one more week, on June 20, we will be adding an indoor, in-person option for Sunday morning worship for the first time since March 8, 2020!
I know how excited so many of you are to be able to worship together in person in the Kirk Center or in the Sanctuary, and I more than share that excitement myself! At the same time, I am also excited that our Sunday morning worship live-streams are a permanent addition to our worship ministry, for they have not only kept us together as a worshipping community, but allowed us to connect for the first time with so many people who would probably have never done so without it. 
So: in the midst of that excitement, I also want to talk a bit more about what you can expect if you decide to attend in-person on June 20 or for the currently foreseeable future beyond it, so I’m going to talk a bit about it in this week’s letter so that you have some time to think through which option you intend to utilize (digital or in-person) on June 20 and after.

First and most obviously, everyone over the age of two will be required to wear masks from the moment they enter the buildings and throughout the worship service; the sole exception to this for worshippers will be to briefly remove their mask to consume the elements of Communion before quickly replacing them (we will provide more instruction on this closer to July 4, our next Communion Sunday).

Second, I am pleased to say that we WILL be able to do both responsive prayers and congregational singing indoors (this is a crucial benefit of the mask requirement). I know the latter is of particular meaning and importance to so many of you, so I want to stress that whether you are in the Contemporary or Traditional Service, we will be able to sing together during indoor/in-person worship.

Third, we are making a few adjustments to some familiar elements of worship, particularly in the Traditional Service. In both services, we will encourage “no-contact” passing of the peace, meaning gestures, elbow-bumps, and the like rather than handshakes and hugs.

The Contemporary Service is already used to this sort of practice, but at the Traditional Service now, we will have “Giving Boxes” positioned in several places in the Narthex area rather than passing offering plates during the service.

You are encouraged to deposit any gifts in the boxes as you enter before the service (and thus before the Prayer of Dedication that happens during the service), but you can also just as easily dedicate your gift spiritually and deposit it on the way out. Scannable QR codes will also be available (at the Giving Boxes) for those who prefer to give online.

Similarly, we will not be passing friendship pads to everyone in the pews at the Traditional Service, but rather will have Welcome Cards that newcomers can fill out and deposit in the Giving Boxes. Again, this is a new addition to the Traditional Service, but a familiar practice for those who have attended the Contemporary Service.

In terms of physical distancing, there are no requirements, as such, for worshippers in either service. That said, we are encouraging people to use the space in the Kirk Center and the Sanctuary to create some distance as a way of showing thoughtfulness to your neighbors. In practice, this will simply mean attentiveness to providing space between your household and the nearest one by not sitting directly in front or behind people, and leaving six feet or so of distance to either side. The chairs in the Kirk Center will be set up with this in mind, but you will need to consider it yourself if you are attending worship in the Sanctuary.

We will also offer child care services, and will have those details for you in next week’s newsletter.

Finally, I want to thank the Building Reopening Task Force for their extraordinary and faithful work throughout the pandemic that has led us to this point. While their work is not yet over, this is obviously a major milestone in our pandemic response.

They have addressed very difficult questions throughout the pandemic with patience, wisdom, and grace, especially when there were no clear or easy answers. So when you see Belle Marks (the chair), Elizabeth Conard, Sue Farber, Rich Hjorth, Bob Hunsicker, or Rebecca Angione, please be sure to thank them for their service!

I cannot wait to see many of you in person in just two weeks: Sunday, June 20!!!

Grace and Peace,

Scripture lesson:
Click the link to read the verses
·   This week's sermon: A Good Word:
Identity by The Rev. J.C. Austin

·     We post each week’s sermon
(audio and text) on our website:
TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT on 8.5" x 11" paper for Sunday

It’s back!
With summertime upon us, our popular “Lemonade on the Lawn” social time will resume on Sunday,
June 20. Stop by between our
9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services for a cool drink, snack, and fellowship!

On June 30 Andrea (Andie) Barbehenn will retire from the staff of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, after serving its Preschool and Extended Care Program for 35 years – 30 of them as its Director. Our church has offered a Preschool program for more than 50 years and Andie has been its longest-serving director.

We want to express our deep gratitude for Andie’s faithfulness to her calling as a teacher and leader in our Preschool in these 35 years of service, and the impact she has made on generations of students who have come through the school. We invite you to be part of doing that.
Did any of your family members attend our Preschool? If so, we invite you to send us your thoughts about the experience by Monday, June 21. We’ll include your notes in a memory book for Andie.  (Right, Andie and two young friends – pre-Covid!)

Please send notes and/or photos to, or by mail to Carol Burns, First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, 2344 Center Street, Bethlehem PA 18017.  
We are also offering an opportunity to contribute to an honorarium (cash gift) for Andie upon her retirement. Please make your donation by Monday, June 21. Checks should be made out to First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, with “Andie Barbehenn gift” in the memo line:

  • Mail a check to: Marianne Zarillo, First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, 2344 Center Street, Bethlehem PA 18017. 
  • You can drop off cash or a check to your child’s Preschool teacher; please be sure it is clearly marked for Andie’s gift.
  • You can also donate at; in the memo box indicate “Andie Barbehenn gift”.
  • If you attend an in-person worship service on Sunday, June 20, you can deposit your check (or cash, in a marked envelope) in the collection basket.
And last, but not least, please join us on Sunday, June 27 at either the 9:00 a.m. Contemporary worship service (indoors in the Kirk Center) or the 11:00 a.m. Traditional worship service (indoors in the Sanctuary), where we will recognize and honor Andie’s service to our church and community. 

At these worship services, Andie will share some of the history of the Preschool and its impact. (Note: Church protocol requires the correct wearing of masks at these services.) Both services will also be livestreamed on the church Facebook page, @FirstPresBethlehem.

You can also stop by between services (10-10:45 a.m.) for an outdoor reception on the east side of the building, to say hello to Andie and wish her well.

Thank you for sharing in this special celebration!
CYF Summer Social Updates: Calling all children/youth/families

We’ve made some changes to our monthly summer fellowship events for children and youth of all ages (and their families):
This Sunday, June 13 at 1:00 p.m. - Strawberry Picking at Valley Fruits & Veggies (5309 Colony Drive, Bethlehem). We’ll meet there and enjoy the tractor ride to the berry patch to pick our own berries! They have a food truck on site if you’d like to have lunch before picking, and they’ve got strawberry milkshakes and shortcakes available to purchase for dessert. 
Please email Lindsey ( to RSVP so we know who to be on the lookout for at the farm.

Sunday, July 18 - Movie Night on the Church Lawn

August - We’ll still have a Pool Party hosted by the Benway Family, but a new date is forthcoming. The Bradbury-Sullivan Center just announced this week that Lehigh Valley Pride is being held in-person on Sunday, August 15, so we want folks to be free to participate in that event since the church will have a booth at the festival!

Our Congregational Life committee is busily planning these upcoming events – stay tuned for more details!
Parking Lot Trivia
Friday, June 25 at 6:30 p.m.
Bring your chairs and your random bits of knowledge for our popular event – you can also bring your supper if you’re so inclined! The winner takes home ‘bragging rights’, so let the competition commence.
Concert on the Lawn
Sunday, July 11 – time TBA
We are blessed to have very talented musicians and performers in our membership, and here’s an opportunity to share your gifts!

With the assistance of Music Director David Macbeth, we will offer a concert (probably late in the afternoon or early evening) that will feature our Contemporary Band. We will also offer an opportunity for others to perform as well. Be thinking about what you might be able to share – details to come!
We’re looking for volunteers to contribute baked goods to serve at
Lemonade on the Lawn social times, beginning on Sunday, June 20.
If interested, please contact Phyllis Walker at
or leave a message at 610-867-5865.
Please specify the date and what you’ll donate.
We would like to know when our members are entering the hospital. Please tell the hospital that your church ID is 724 and they will contact us. You can also contact Phil
Fair at to keep us up to date.

Send any prayer requests to or call 610-867-5865 and leave a message.
Send us your news and photos to share:
**Deadline for next week's newsletter: WEDNESDAY at noon**
* * *
And follow us on Facebook: @FirstPresBethlehem
Your likes / comments / shares help us spread the word about First Pres!

  • 9:00 a.m.: Contemporary Worship Service, livestreamed
  • 11:00 a.m.: Combined Worship Service, livestreamed - see instructions in blue box, below, to join us online, and in the yellow box to join us via phone 
FOR THIS SUNDAY: : Worship with us “Live” on Facebook
To watch “live”- as it happens:

  • Visit our Facebook page and look for the post with our live feed
  • If you don’t have a Facebook account, go to our website to view the service
  • Please check in with a comment so we know you’ve joined us!
  • Captions will now be available on our livestream, for those who would like to use that feature
To watch a video – available after the services have aired: Visit our website
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE INTERNET ACCESS: You can participate on your phone to listen to the 11 a.m. Traditional service

To listen on the phone (audio only): Call 929-205-6099; when prompted enter the Meeting ID: 848 4170 9518, followed by the # key. You will be asked for the participant ID – press the # key again.
  • 7 p.m.: Overcomer’s Outreach Christian 12 Step Recovery Group weekly meeting, via Zoom (Meeting # 380 435 9056 / Password: overcomer)

ALL OTHER PUBLIC EVENTS AND GATHERINGS ARE CANCELLED AT THIS TIME unless offered online (see listings on our Facebook page under “Events”)

LOOKING AHEAD: The church staff will not be working on Monday, June 21, in observance of the Juneteenth holiday.

CHURCH OFFICE AND BUILDING INFO: The office staff is working remotely and checking email and voicemail daily. The answering service (610-778-7003) can take your urgent pastoral concerns, 24 hours a day.

CARE CONCERNS AND HOSPITAL VISITS: If members of the FPCB congregation are hospitalized and would welcome pastoral and hospital ministrant visitors and/or prayers, please contact: Phil Fair, Prayer Ministrant (
First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, 2344 Center Street, Bethlehem, PA 18017 610-867-5865 |

The Rev. J.C. Austin, Pastor/Head of Staff: ext. 213,

The Rev. Lindsey Altvater Clifton, Associate Pastor of Formation and Justice;

The Rev. Sue Bennetch, Pastoral Associate: ext. 209;

David Macbeth, Music Director: ext. 202;

Cristy Mette, Administrative Operations Manager: ext. 228;

Rebecca Angione, Facilities Manager: ext. 210;

Marianne Zarillo, Business Manager: email:

Cindy Matthews, Bookkeeper: email:

Carol Burns, Communications Manager; phone 610-428-9649;

Andrea Barbehenn, Preschool Director; phone: 610-867-2956;